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Much Ado At The National


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#1 Alandb

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 03:04 PM

No-one seems to have noted the fact that -here we go again - the same old actors appearing at The National. Simon RB & Alex Jennings clearly have some sort of 'deal' about appearing here - they appear with bum-numbing regularity. There are so many many talented actors out there worthy of gracing the stage at this premiere venue - yet all we get are the same faces. As an audience member I've seen one too many clipped camp performances of Mr Beale to last a life-time. Give us some new talent !

#2 Backdrifter

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 03:09 PM

QUOTE(Alandb @ Sep 13 2007, 04:04 PM) View Post
Give us some new talent !

...and a new thread! (See existing thread just below)
Turn up the signal... wipe out the noise

#3 Theatresquirrel

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 04:45 PM

Oh c'mon. Maybe just maybe the National keep asking SRB and AJ back because they're, like, um...two of the nation's very best stage actors, and the audience really want to see them. I'm sure they wouldn't invite them back if the audience generally didn't want them.

And note, this is the way it ever was at the NT where, in its heyday, Olivier was in a lot lot lot lot more stuff than these guys ever are.

Frankly I'm pleased that we have a theatre which really nurtures and cultivates certain talents. Some we may, each to our own, like more than others, but so it goes. And in fairness, I think that place puts a better standard of actor onstage across the board than most places.

Also, I think it's worth saying that in the case of SRB and AJ, at least the NT is championing actors who aren't plastered all over our cinema and TV screens. For these guys, the stage really is their pitch and their graft and if movie and TV moguls aren't really embracing them, I'm glad this theatre is. Because, yknow, they can act. They really can.

Personally I couldn't for a moment question the NT wanting to stage Noel Coward with Alex Jennings - if you don't think that's inspired, well, that's a big shame.

And let's see SRB's Benedick before we start damning it, eh?

Hurray.

#4 Jan Brock

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 11:32 AM

QUOTE(Alandb @ Sep 13 2007, 04:04 PM) View Post
No-one seems to have noted the fact that -here we go again - the same old actors appearing at The National. Simon RB & Alex Jennings clearly have some sort of 'deal' about appearing here - they appear with bum-numbing regularity. There are so many many talented actors out there worthy of gracing the stage at this premiere venue - yet all we get are the same faces. As an audience member I've seen one too many clipped camp performances of Mr Beale to last a life-time. Give us some new talent !


Nicholas Hytner has used these two actors many times throughout his career - check out the number of Hytner/Jennings collaborations. You may not like it but it's a fact that directors tend to work with the same actors many times - Doran/Sher, Nunn/McKellan, Kent/McDiarmid, Warner/Shaw, there are plently of examples - I don't see a problem. It's the same with directors and designers, and even directors and playwrights.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 11:40 AM

I'm seeing double.

#6 Guest_Guest_Bess_*_*

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 01:11 PM

After all the threads criticising the way stage actors are never taken seriously enough and non-entity "slebs" are cast in high profile stage roles, I just can't believe anyone would question the National Theatre's integrity on casting some of the country's top stage actors in many of their productions. Alex Jennings is, personally, my favourite actor by a very long way. He could act most others off the stage, and I think he's perfect casting for Present Laughter (though obviously I haven't seen the production yet).

I think loyalty in the very inconsistent business of show should be applauded, and good for Nick Hytner for continuing to cast an actor who has more than proved himself in many productions and continues to raise the bar (and of course there's an element of going for a safe bet - Hytner does ideally WANT an audience, I'm sure!), and good for Alex Jennings for doing as much as he can at the National (and previously lots with the RSC, too) and not gallavanting off into the (presumably) much more lucrative commercial sector of the West End and films all the time.

So there! ;-)

#7 Lynette

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 05:52 PM

Lay off SRB.

I'd turn up to watch him peel a banana.

Also, note that Doran and Sher are real life partners are I think do very good work together. I bet they get a lot of ideas put their way that they turn down because of the work/home problem.



#8 Guest_Eve_*

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 07:36 PM

Love the SRB and the Jennings. And I love that the NT has its in-house leading actors, like them or Zoe Wanamaker.

And its loyal to actors not just at the very top of the company - the real stars for me are actors like Paul Ritter, Nancy Carroll, Angus Wright, Paterson Joseph, Justine Mitchell, Tim McMullan, Justin Salinger, Paul Ready. Actors you see working there all the time and getting better and better and who will probably big wonderful stars in their own right. Just look at Philistines recently - a knock out ensemble show, none of them HUGE stars, just wonderful actors.

Who are your favourite company actors? From the NT or the RSC?

#9 keysersoze

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 01:08 PM

QUOTE(Eve @ Sep 15 2007, 08:36 PM) View Post
Love the SRB and the Jennings. And I love that the NT has its in-house leading actors, like them or Zoe Wanamaker.

And its loyal to actors not just at the very top of the company - the real stars for me are actors like Paul Ritter, Nancy Carroll, Angus Wright, Paterson Joseph, Justine Mitchell, Tim McMullan, Justin Salinger, Paul Ready. Actors you see working there all the time and getting better and better and who will probably big wonderful stars in their own right. Just look at Philistines recently - a knock out ensemble show, none of them HUGE stars, just wonderful actors.

Who are your favourite company actors? From the NT or the RSC?


Wouldn't you say that Paterson Joseph has now graduated to the NT elite?

#10 Theatresquirrel

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 11:28 AM


Really good point, Eve.

I remember seeing Voysey Inheritance and not being particularly mad for it but nonetheless entranced by the woman playing Edward's fiancee. I checked out her name in the cast-list so I could look out for her again, and was thrilled to then see her cast in Man of Mode where she duly shined. And from that luminous performance, she went on to a leading role in The Enchantment. She's such a fine actress that hopefully Nancy Carroll would've gone onto other good things elsewhere, but the NT has nonetheless given her a huge springboard through its cultivation, just as it did with Eve Best through Cherry Orchard then Coast of Utopia then Three Sisters then Mourning Becomes Electra and now she - as Carroll will surely become too - is an A-list name here and on Broadway.

Though he was showing real momentum anyway, I think the NT's done the same for Rory Kinnear too. And it set Anna Maxwell Martin on her extraordinary path. And Sam Barnett.

And then, as you say, there are those actors who are just dependably brilliant in everything they do at the National like Tim McMullan and Nick Sampson.  

The NT, like any subsidised arts organisation, has as much duty to its artists as to its audience, and the continuing professional development they have offered many actors is as commendable as the number of new names they continually introduce us to every year.




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